Commonwealth funding must be used to improve outcomes for students
Evidence from the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is clear that simply providing more funding does not in itself improve student outcomes. The OECD has found that for high-income countries like Australia it matters more how money is spent, than how much is spent.
A strong level of funding is necessary, and we have that, but what is more important is to ensure that funding is being used on initiatives proven to boost student results.
Australian Government schools funding will be tied to reforms proven to lift student outcomes
From 2018, the Government's growing investment in schools will be distributed according to need and tied to the implementation of our evidence-based quality reforms proven to lift student achievement.
The Government's reform agenda was set out in Quality Schools, Quality Outcomes, released in 2016. Key reforms include minimum literacy and numeracy standards for students, recognition for teachers based on competency and achievement and early intervention for struggling students.
The Government has established the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools, to be chaired by Mr David Gonski AC, to provide advice on how the extra Commonwealth funding provided from 2018 should be invested to improve Australian schools' performance and grow student achievement.
The findings of the Review will inform the development of a new national schooling agreement between the Commonwealth and states that will drive reforms to turn around declining student performance.
Reforms requiring collaboration and cooperation across state and territory borders will be implemented through the Council of Australian Governments' Education Council. Reforms better suited to local implementation and innovation will be outlined in bilateral plans to be agreed between the Commonwealth and each state and territory.
These plans will set out ambitious, innovative actions to improve student outcomes within the unique context and circumstance of each state and territory.
States will be required to enter into an initial agreement with the Commonwealth for funding to flow from 2018 and delivery of reforms will be an ongoing condition of funding.
It is important that all schools in Australia benefit from the reform. Funding of $186.4 million over five years will be provided to state-based non-government representative bodies to support implementation of national and state reforms in all non-government schools.
States will be required to contribute to 95 per cent of the Schooling Resource Standard for all schools
New funding arrangements will focus on student need with a Schooling Resource Standard (SRS), as recommended by the 2011 Review of Funding for Schooling, led by Mr David Gonski. A base amount will be provided for every student with additional funding for disadvantage.
The Commonwealth will contribute a consistent share of the standard. Commonwealth funding for government schools will transition to a 20 per cent share of their SRS (up from an average of 17.0 per cent in 2017) and Commonwealth funding for non-government schools will transition to an 80 per cent share of their SRS (up from an average of 76.8 per cent in 2017).
State and territory governments will also be required to deliver their share of a total public funding level of at least 95 per cent of the SRS for all schools by 2023, unless otherwise agreed with the Commonwealth, as a condition of receiving Commonwealth funding.